Drought grinds on in Adelaide

Goats roam around the cracked mud floor of the Adelaide Dam, outside the town. The situation has improved slightly for these animals since aid organisation Gift of the Givers trucked in fodder and started filling troughs
Goats roam around the cracked mud floor of the Adelaide Dam, outside the town. The situation has improved slightly for these animals since aid organisation Gift of the Givers trucked in fodder and started filling troughs
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

With the drought spotlight now on Graaff-Reinet, the little farming town of Adelaide 200km to the southeast at the foot of the Winterberge is still battling for water.

Amathole District Municipality councillor and former school circuit manager Jean Lombard said on Wednesday Adelaide had received welcome showers at the weekend, it was not nearly enough.

“The volume we received differed in different sections of the town but we got an average of about 15mm.

“It gave the golf course a green tinge but it was not nearly enough to make a difference to the Adelaide Dam.”

Depressions in the bed of the dry Koonop River which fed the dam first needed to fill before there would be any through flow, she said.

In the meantime the town was surviving on borehole water including from five drilled recently by Gift of the Givers and a steady influx of donated water from communities, churches, schools and companies across the Eastern Cape and as far as Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“The stories that go with so many of these donations are what touch you on a personal level -- the lorry drivers pushing through the night to get to us, the many willing hands needed to make the logistics work.

“People are so cheerful and helpful and they keep on giving but the concern is that it’s not sustainable.

“Other places in the region are now feeling the drought and are requiring aid and our wonderful donors our wonderful donors are being increasingly stretched.”

Lombard said while residents in the lower parts of town were still getting a sporadic supply of water four hours a day through the municipal system, because of the low pressure it was still not reaching many residents in the higher lying areas including the townships of Red Location and Bezuidenhoutville.

“My understanding is the piped supply from the Fish River is unavailable at the moment and the only water coming through is from the boreholes.

Lombard said there was move as yet to begin work on the long-awaited Foxwood Dam and this would have to begin with negotiations with farmers who owned the land targeted for the dam.

Gift of the Givers hydrologist Dr Gideon Groenewald said on Wednesday that besides the new boreholes that the organisation had drilled in Adelaide, they were also working on several other defunct boreholes at schools in the town to get them operating again.


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